Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines: Glossary of Terms

Download the print format Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines: Glossary of Terms with references (PDF, 25 pages)
Glossary Overview
Terminology Definitions Examples
24-Hour Movement Guidelines The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines describe the recommended amount of time spent in all intensities of physical activity (light, moderate, vigorous), sedentary behaviour and sleep to optimize health benefits. Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (ages 0-4 years): An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep

Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (ages 5-17 years): An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep
www.csep.ca/guidelines
Definitions beginning with "A"
Terminology Definitions Examples
Academic Achievement The extent to which a person has accomplished specific goals that were the focus of activities in instructional environments, specifically in school, college and university.

(Health indicator)
  • Grade point average
  • Scores on standardized tests
  • Grades in specific courses and self-reported questionnaires
  • Measures of I.Q., concentration, memory or classroom behaviours
Activity Limitations Difficulties an individual may have in executing activities
  • Includes activities such as walking, running, jumping, pushing a wheelchair, lifting, swimming, eating,dressing, etc.
Adapted Physical Activity Adaptations to physical activities to facilitate participation across a wide range of abilities.
  • Wheelchair sports
  • Adapted skiing and snowboarding
  • Goalball
Adiposity The state of excessive fat accumulation in the human body, more commonly referred to as "obesity" Examples of adiposity measures are bioelectrical impedance analysis, dual-energy X-ray absorpitometry, skin fold thickness, etc.
Aerobic Physical Activities Dynamic activities that involve large muscle groups and result in substantial increases in heart rate and energy expenditure; also called endurance activities. Regular participation results in improvements in cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal fitness, leading to an increase in endurance performance, and better health.
  • Brisk walking
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Bicycling
  • Arm cycling
  • Rowing
  • Team sport (e.g., soccer, football, hockey or basketball) Dancing
Ages Infant: 1 month - 11.99 months
Toddler: 1 year - 2.99 years
Preschooler: 3 years - 4.99 years
Child: 5-11 years
Youth: 12-17 years
Adult: 18-64 years
Older adult: ≥65 years

Apparently Healthy In addition to the following-age specific criteria, refers to the absence of disease (based on clinical signs, symptoms and function), normally assessed by routine laboratory methods and physical evaluation. Children and adults that have overweight/obesity but no other diagnosed condition are considered apparently healthy.

Early Years Those that are developing according to prescribed age specific milestones.

Older Adults Community-dwelling older adults, not in a nursing home or long-term care environment, and not classified as frail.
To determine whether an individual may have a health condition, conduct pre-participation screening using evidence-informed tools i.e., Get Active Questionnaire by CSEP, PAR-Q+, that will support recommendations for individual client-tailored physical activity and exercise programs.
Definitions beginning with "B"
Terminology Definitions Examples
Balance Enhancement / Balance Training Static and dynamic exercises that are designed to improve the ability to withstand challenges from postural sway or destabilizing stimuli caused by self-motion, the environment or other objects.
  • Walking on uneven ground (e.g., unpaved areas or forest trails)
  • Tai Chi
  • Yoga
  • Slack-line
  • Stand-up paddle-boarding
  • Balance tests (side-by-side stand, semi-tandem stand, tandem stand)
  • Training specific to activities of daily living
Being Restrained The time infants, toddlers and preschoolers are put in strollers, car seats or other situations when unable to move freely.
  • Car seats
  • Strollers
  • High chair
Body Composition The proportion of fat and fat-free mass in the body. The measurement of body composition plays an important role in qualifying health and nutritonal status, the impact of disease and change due to nutrional, therapeutic or behavioural intervention.

(Health indicator)
  • Body Mass Index(BMI)
  • Waist circumference
  • Percentage body fat
  • While BMI and waist circumference do not measure body composition per se, in most circumstances they are good indicators of health risk
Bone-Strengthening Activity Physical activity that increases the strength of specific sites in bones that comprise the skeletal system.

Bone-strengthening activities produce an impact or tension force on the bones that promote bone growth and strength.

Weight-bearing activities and high impact exercises are most effective for the improvement of bone mineral content. A combination of these types of exercises is optimal for most to preserve or improve bone mineral density.
In addition to the following age-specific examples, includes:
  • Running
  • Jumping rope
  • Lifting weights
  • Sports that involve repeated foot impact (e.g., gymnastics, basketball, volleyball or tennis)
Children and Youth
  • Games (e.g., hopscotch)
  • Hopping, skipping or jumping
Adults and Older Adults
  • Skipping, jumping, lifting, carrying or stair-climbing
  • Heavy gardening
  • Activities in which the muscle forces act to stress the bone (e.g., rowing will “stress” or “load” the spine)
Bout A period of continuous physical activity.

A period of continuous movement behaviour.
  • 10 minutes of continuous physical activity as recommended in the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults
  • 2 hours of continuous sedentary behaviour
  • 7 hours of continuous sleep
  • 45 minutes of continuous gardening
Definitions beginning with "D"
Terminology Definitions Examples
Disability Umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions.
Duration The length of time a movement behaviour is performed.
  • 30 minutes of exercise
  • 2 hours of TV watching
  • 1 hour nap
  • 20 minutes of gardening
Definitions beginning with "E"
Terminology Definitions Examples
Emotional Regulation The extrinsic and intrinsic processes responsible for monitoring, evaluating and modifying emotional reactions, especially their intensive and temporal features. Emotion regulation can operate through cognitive, expressive, behavioural and physiological processes.

An individual’s ability to effectively manage and respond to emotional experiences.

(Health indicator)
  • Being able to control one’s temper, not feel overwhelmed by emotions, communicate calmly, etc.
Energetic Play Similar to moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA). It is more appropriately contextualized for the early years and refers to activities for young children that get them working hard, breathing heavily and feeling warm.
  • Ball games
  • Activities in the park (e.g., riding a tricycle or bike)
  • Water activities
  • Tag
Exercise Physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive and purposive in the sense that improvement or maintenance of one or more components of physical fitness is an objective. See structured physical activity examples under tab ‘S’.
Extended Periods A prolonged period of time spent continuously in one behaviour. In the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (ages 0-4 years): An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep and the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (ages 5-17 years): An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep it is recommended that infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers, children and youth limit extended time spent being sedentary.

An extended period of sedentary time in this context corresponds to a prolonged period spent sitting or reclining, without taking a break (an interruption in sedentary time) during waking hours.
Definitions beginning with "F"
Terminology Definitions Examples
Floor-Based Play A supervised play style for infants, usually in the family's home or daycare center, where children move on the floor and develop motor skills
  • Rolling, crawling, tummy time, reaching or grabbing for objects, toys, etc.
Frequency The number of times a movement behaviour is performed per unit time. Frequency is generally expressed in sessions, episodes or bouts per day or week.
  • Exercise 3 times per week
  • Computer games daily
  • Walking the dog 5 times per week
  • Flight of stairs 4 times daily
Definitions beginning with "H"
Terminology Definitions Examples
Health Conditions Includes diseases, disorders, injuries and traumas
  • Trauma (spinal cord injury, brain injury, amputation)
  • Congenital/genetic (cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, parkinsons disease)
  • Disease (polio, meningococcyl)
Health Indicators: A characteristic of an individual, population, or environment which is subject to measurement (directly or indirectly) and can be used to describe one or more aspects of the health of an individual or population (quality, quantity and time), For Canadian Physical Activity and 24-Hour Movement Guidelines (see definitions under heading):

Academic Achievement
Body Composition
Cardiorespiratory Fitness
Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health
Cognition
Emotional Regulation
Musculoskeletal Fitness
Pro-Social Behaviours
Psychosocial Health
Quality of Life
Health Professional Qualified exercise professional or health practitioner.
  • CSEP Certified Exercise Physiologist® (CSEP-CEP)
  • Kinesiologist
  • Medical doctor
  • Nurse
  • Physiotherapist
  • Psychologist
  • Occupational therapist
Definitions beginning with "I"
Terminology Definitions Examples
Incidental Activity Physical activity that is accumulated by carrying out activities of daily living.
  • Getting the mail
  • Personal hygiene
  • Preparing meals
  • Light cleaning
  • Shopping
  • Banking
Interactive Non-Screen Based Behaviours Stimulating activities that do not involve a screen as the mode of entertainment
  • Reading, singing and/or story telling with a parent caregiver or friend.
Definitions beginning with "L"
Terminology Definitions Examples
Light-Intensity Physical Activity On an absolute scale, light intensity refers to physical activity that is performed at:
  • 1.5-4.0 times the intensity of rest for children and youth (1.5-4.0 METs)
  • 1.5-3.0 times the intensity of rest for adults and older adults (1.5-3.0 METs)
Light physical activities do not result in sweat production or shortness of breath. “Incidental activities” are typically light-intensity physical activities.
Children and Youth
  • Slow walking
  • Croquet
  • Mild stretching
  • Personal hygiene
  • Playing with animals
  • Walking the dog
  • Billiards
Adults and Older Adults
  • Slow walking
  • Light household tasks (groceries, washing dishes or cooking)
  • Child care
  • Croquet
  • Mild stretching
  • Personal hygiene
  • Light gardening or watering plants
Lying Refers to being in a horizontal position on a supporting surface

General definition applies to all age and ability groups.

Lying behaviour can be either passive (‹ 1.5 METs) or active (› 1.5 METs).
  • Passive lying: (all age and ability groups): Lying on a couch, bed or floor while sedentary
  • Active lying: (all age and ability groups):Isometric plank hold
Definitions beginning with "M"
Terminology Definitions Examples
Mobility Impairment Limitations to musculoskeletal and/or neurological body systems that influence functional ability
  • Musculoskeletal injury (e.g. fracture, muscle strain)
  • Neurological impairment (e.g. secondary to cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis
Moderate-Intensity Physical Activity (MPA) On an absolute scale, moderate intensity refers to physical activity that is performed at:
  • 4.0-6.9 times the intensity of rest for children and youth (4.0-6.9 METs)
  • 3.0-5.9 times the intensity of rest for adults and older adults (3.0-5.9 METs)
The metabolism and capacity of older adults changes at different rates for different individuals. Accordingly, alternate approaches for classifying MPA are also used, including:
  • About 3.3 times the intensity of rest for someone of average fitness after age 65 years
  • >60% of VO2max
  • 40-60% of heart rate reserve
On a scale relative to an individual’s personal capacity (e.g., Rating of Perceived Exertion), moderate-intensity physical activity is usually represented by 5 to 6 on a scale from 1 to 10. Generally, MPA is intense enough to elevate the heart rate. A person can talk but not sing during activities of this intensity.
Children and Youth:
  • Active recreation (e.g., hiking, skateboarding, rollerblading or canoeing)
  • Active transportation (e.g., cycling or brisk walking)
  • Household chores and yard work (e.g., sweeping or pushing a lawn mower)
  • Playing games that require catching and throwing (e.g., baseball or football)
Adults and Older Adults:
  • Walking briskly (3 miles per hour or faster for adults, or 1.5 miles per hour or faster for older adults, but not race-walking)
  • Water aerobics
  • Cycling slower than 10 miles per hour
  • Tennis (doubles)
  • Ballroom dancing
  • General gardening
  • Household chores (e.g., vacuuming, washing the floor or climbing stairs)
Motor Development Refers to the development of a child’s musculoskeletal system and their ability to move around in, and manipulate their surrounding environment.

(Health indicator)
Movement An act of changing physical location or position through the action of skeletal muscle.

Movement and non-movement behaviours throughout the day directly impact on biological processes and may mediate or moderate physiological responses and adaptations to other movement behaviours (i.e., they interact).
Movement:
  • Exercise
  • Walking
  • Gardening
  • Cleaning
Non-movement:
  • Sleeping
  • Watching TV
  • Working on the computer
  • Sitting
Movement Continuum The continuity of behaviours based on their intensity in METs (Metabolic Equivalents) from sleep to intense exercise. This representation illustrates that sleep and sedentary behaviours are distinct from a lack of physical activity. Physiological responses and adaptations to sleep and sedentary behaviours are not necessarily the opposite of exercise and may differ within and between physiological systems (e.g., cardiovascular vs. musculoskeletal). Behaviours on the movement continuum interact with respect to health, suggesting that an integration of all movement (and non-movement) behaviours should be considered together when assessing healthy living behaviours.

image of movement continuum
Muscle Strengthening Activity Physical activity that increases skeletal muscle strength, power, endurance or mass. Children and Youth:
  • Games (e.g., tug of war)
  • Push-ups or modified push-ups (with knees on the floor)
  • Resistance exercises using body weight, resistance bands, weight machines or hand-held weights
  • Rope or tree climbing
  • Sit-ups (curl-ups or crunches)
  • Swinging on playground equipment/bars
  • Chores that require lifting and carrying
Adults and Older Adults:
  • Lifting weights
  • Working with resistance bands
  • Exercises that use body weight for resistance (e.g., push-ups or sit-ups)
  • Heavy gardening (e.g., digging or shoveling)
Musculo-skeletal Fitness A group of fitness components including muscular strength, endurance and power. Muscular strength is the ability to generate force with a muscle or group of muscles; local muscular endurance is the ability to perform repeated contractions with a muscle or group of muscles under sub-maximal load; and muscular power refers to the rate at which muscles perform work.

(Health indicator).
  • Muscular strength: maximal bench press, maximal squat, grip strength
  • Muscular endurance: push-ups, chin-ups, plank, arm cycling, chair stand test
  • Muscular power: vertical jump, standing long jump, sit-to-stand
MVPA Moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity. See moderate-intensity physical activity and vigorous-intensity physical activity.
Definitions beginning with "N"
Terminology Definitions Examples
Nap A brief period of sleep, usually in the daytime, to serve as an adjunct to the usual night sleep period.
Non-Screen-Based Sedentary Time Refers to the time spent in sedentary behaviours that do not involve the use of screens

Recreational non-screen time: Time spent in non-screen based sedentary behaviours that are not related to school or work.

General definition applies to all age and ability groups.
  • Infants (less than 1 year or pre-walking): Lying supine on a mat while sedate; sitting in a stroller or car seat with little movement.
  • Toddlers and preschoolers (1–4 years): Sitting in a child seat, chair or car seat; sitting idle in the sandbox or on the floor; reading a nonelectronic book or playing a board game while seated.
  • Children and youth (5–17 years): Sitting at school; sitting doing homework or art work; reading a non-electronic book; playing a board game; sitting in a car.
  • Adults (≥ 18 years): Reading a non-electronic book; playing a board game; sitting in a car.
  • People who use a manual wheelchair or a power chair: Reading a non-electronic book; playing a board game; sitting in a car; being pushed while passively sitting in a manual wheelchair.
Definitions beginning with "P"
Terminology Definitions Examples
Participation Restrictions Problems that an individual may experience in involvement in life situations
  • Interpersonal interaction (interacting in groups, forming relationships)
  • Acquiring and keeping a job
  • Voting at a place without wheelchair access
  • Inability to compete in school sports
Physical Activity Any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure, and increases heart rate and breathing. See Low-, Moderate- and Vigorous-Intensity Physical Activity for examples.
Physical Activity Guidelines Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines provide recommendations regarding the frequency, intensity, amount and type of physical activity that can help prevent disease and/or improve health for Canadians.
  • Canadian 24-Hour Movement Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years (ages 0-4 years): An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep
  • Canadian 24-Hour Movement Behaviour Guidelines for Children and Youth (ages 5-17 years): An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep
  • Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults (aged 18-64 years)
  • Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults (65 years and older)
  • Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults with Multiple Sclerosis
  • Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults with Spinal Cord Injury
www.csep.ca/guidelines
Physical Inactivity An insufficient physical activity level to meet present physical activity recommendations.
General definition applies to all age and ability groups.
  • Toddlers and preschoolers (1–4 years): Not achieving 180 min of physical activity of any intensity per day.
  • Children and youth (5–17 years): Not achieving 60 min of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity per day.
  • Adults (≥ 18 years): Not achieving 150 min of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity per week or 75 min of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
Prone Position A position in which the body is lying face down. Also see “tummy-time”
Pro-social Behaviours Behaviours that are carried out with the goal of helping other people.

(Health indicator)
  • Picking up something someone lost and giving it back
  • Behaviours that are carried out with the goal of helping other people.
Psychosocial Health Encompasses the mental, emotional, social and spiritual dimensions that contribute to one’s health.

(Health indicator)
Definitions beginning with "Q"
Terminology Definitions Examples
Quality of Life An individual’s perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards and concerns.

Refers broadly to the general well-being of individuals, and encompasses evaluations of both positive and negative aspects of life.

(Health indicator)
  • Health Related Quality of Life (HRQL) is a concept developed by health researchers to describe the combination of several core dimensions including physical functioning, emotional well-being, social functioning and role activities, as well as health perceptions and global assessment of life satisfaction.
  • Items that contribute to Qualify of Life include health, job status, housing, education, neighbourhood and community, etc.
Definitions beginning with "R"
Terminology Definitions Examples
Reclining Reclining is a body position between sitting and lying.

General definition applies to all age and ability groups.

Reclining behaviour can be either passive (≤ 1.5 METs) or active (› 1.5 METs).
  • Passive reclining (all age and ability groups):Lounging/slouching on a chair or couch while sedntary.
  • Active Reclining (all age and ability groups): Recumbent cycling
Recreational Screen Time Time spent in front of one or more screen-based devices during discretionary time (i.e., non-school or work-based use), while sedentary.
  • TV, video game console, computer, tablet, phone or other screen.
Rough-and-Tumble Play A form of higher energy play where children climb over each other, wrestle, roll around and pretend to fight in the spirit of fun.
  • Chasing each other, wrestling, play fighting, rolling around, etc.
Definitions beginning with "S"
Terminology Definitions Examples
Screen Time Refers to the time spent on screen-based behaviours, which can be performed while being sedentary or physically active.

Recreational screen time: Time spent in screen behaviours that are not related to school or work. Stationary screen time: Time spent using a screen-based device (e.g., smartphone, tablet, computer, television) while being stationary in any context (e.g., school, work, recreational). Sedentary screen time: Time spent using a screen-based device (e.g., smartphone, tablet, computer, television) while being sedentary in any context (e.g., school, work, recreational). Active screen time: Time spent using a screen-based device (e.g., smartphone, tablet, computer, television) while not being stationary in any context (e.g., school, work, recreational).

General definition applies to all age and ability groups.
  • All age and ability groups: Watching TV, using a smartphone/tablet, using a computer
  • Active screen time: Playing active video games, running on a treadmill while watching television.

Sedentary Behaviour Sedentary behaviour is any waking behaviour characterized by an energy expenditure ≤ 1.5 metabolic equivalents (METs), while in a sitting, reclining or lying posture.

Sedentary time: The time spent for any duration (e.g., minutes per day) or in any context (e.g., at school or work) in sedentary behaviours.
Sedentary bout: A period of uninterrupted sedentary time. Sedentary interruptions/breaks: A non-sedentary bout in between two sedentary bouts.

Infants (less than 1 year or pre-walking): Any waking behaviour characterized by low energy expenditure while restrained (e.g., stroller/pram, high chair, car seat/capsule), or when sedate (e.g., reclining/sitting in a chair with little movement but not restrained). Time spent in the prone position (“tummy time”) is not considered a sedentary exposure.

Toddlers and preschoolers (1–4 years), children and youth (5–17 years), adults (≥ 18 years) and all ability groups: Same as the general definition.
  • Infants (less than 1 year or pre-walking): Lying awake in the bed with minimal movement; sitting in a baby chair/high chair/stroller/car seat with minimal movement; being carried/held/cuddled by someone
  • Toddlers and preschoolers (1–4 years): Use of electronic devices (e.g., television, computer, tablet, phone) while sitting, reclining or lying; reading/drawing/painting while sitting; sitting in stroller; sitting in baby chair or couch while eating a meal; sitting in a bus, car or train.
  • Children and youth (5–17 years): Use of electronic devices (e.g., television, computer, tablet, phone) while sitting, reclining or lying; reading/writing/ drawing/painting while sitting; homework while sitting; sitting at school; sitting in a bus, car or train.
  • Adults (≥ 18 years): Use of electronic devices (e.g., television, computer, tablet, phone) while sitting, reclining or lying; reading/writing/talking while sitting; sitting in a bus, car or train.
  • People who use a manual wheelchair or a power chair: Use of electronic devices (e.g., television, computer, tablet, phone) while sitting, reclining or lying; reading/writing/drawing/painting/talking while sitting; sitting in a bus, car or train; moving from place to place in a power chair; being pushed while passively sitting in a manual wheelchair.
Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines provide recommendations regarding the volume and type of sedentary pursuits that help prevent disease and/or improve health for Canadians.
  • Canadian Movement Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years (ages 0-4 years): An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep
  • Canadian Movement Behaviour Guidelines for Children and Youth (ages 5-17 years): An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep


www.csep.ca/guidelines
Sedentary Behaviour Pattern The manner in which sedentary behaviour is accumulated throughout the day or week while awake (e.g., the timing, duration and frequency of sedentary bouts and breaks).

General definition applies to all age and ability groups.
  • Prolonger: Someone who accumulates sedentary time in extended continuous bouts.
  • Breaker: Someone who accumulates sedentary time with frequent interruptions and in short bouts.
Sitting A position in which one's weight is supported by one's buttocks rather than one's feet, and in which one's back is upright.

Active sitting: Active sitting refers to any waking activity in a sitting posture characterized by an energy expenditure >1.5 METs.
Passive sitting: Passive sitting refers to any waking activity in a sitting posture characterized by an energy expenditure ≤1.5 METs.

General definition applies to all age and ability groups.
  • Active sitting: Working on a seated assembly line; playing guitar while seated; using devices that engage one's feet/legs while seated; doing arm ergometry in a wheelchair.
  • Passive sitting: Refer to sedentary behaviour examples while sitting.
Sleep Hygiene Habits and practices conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis. The promotion of regular sleep is also known as sleep hygiene.
  • Going to bed at the same time each night, and rising at the same time each morning.
  • Sleeping in a quiet, dark and relaxing environment, which is not too hot or too cold.
  • Making your bed comfortable and using it only for sleeping (not for other activities, such as reading, watching TV or listening to music).
  • Removing all TVs, computers and other "gadgets" from the bedroom.
  • Avoiding large meals before bedtime.
Standing A position in which one has or is maintaining an upright position while supposed by one's feet

Active standing: Active standing refers to any waking activity in a standing posture characterized by an energy expenditure >2.0 METs, while standing without ambulation, whether supported or unsupported.
Passive standing: Passive standing refers to any waking activity in a standing posture characterized by an energy expenditure [≤]2.0 METs, while standing without ambulation, whether supported or unsupported.
Standing time: The time spent for any duration (e.g., minutes per day) or in any context (e.g., at school/work) while standing.
Standing bout: A period of uninterrupted time while standing. Standing interruptions/breaks: A non-standing bout in between two standing bouts.

Infants (less than 1 year or pre-walking), toddlers and preschoolers (1–4 years), children and youth (5–17 years), adults ([≥] 18 years) and people who use a manual wheelchair or a power chair: Same as the general definition.

People who are unable to stand: Not applicable.
  • Active standing: Standing on a ladder; standing while painting; standing while doing dishes.
  • Passive standing: standing in a line, standing for a hallway discussion.
  • Supported standing: Standing while holding a couch, chair, or parent's hand; use of electronic devices.
Stationary Behaviour
Stationary behaviour refers to any waking behaviour done while lying, reclining, sitting, or standing, with no ambulation, irrespective of energy expenditure.

Stationary time: The time spent for any duration (e.g., per day, per week), in any context (e.g., at school/work), and at any intensity (e.g., standing in a line, working on an assembly line with no ambulation, working at a standing desk, sitting in a classroom) in stationary behaviours.
Stationary bout: A period of uninterrupted stationary time.
Stationary interruptions/breaks: A non-stationary bout in between two stationary bouts (applies to all age and ability groups except infants).

General definition applies to all age and ability groups except for infants (less THAN 1 year to pre-walking) and people with a mobility impairment who are unable to stand.
Structured Physical Activities Activities that occur in a planned, deliberate, repetitive context. Children and Youth:
  • School physical education (PE) class
  • Organized Lessons (e.g., dance, swimming or karate)
  • Competitive sport (e.g., Gymnastics, house league soccer or travel hockey)
Adults and Older Adults:
  • Yoga or Tai Chi class
  • Fitness class
  • Running, hiking or Nordic walking as part of a club or group
  • Exercising in a gym under supervision
  • Water aerobics
Surveillance The continuous, systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of health-related data needed for the planning, implementation and evaluation of public health practice.

Surveillance of population levels of physical activity and sedentary behaviours using a standardized protocol is an important and necessary part of a public health response to current concerns regarding lack of physical activity in many populations. For example, it allows for the monitoring of the proportion of children and youth meeting the 24-Hour Movement Guidelines.
  • Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS)
  • Health Behaviour of School-aged Children Survey (HBSC)
Definitions beginning with "T"
Terminology Definitions Examples
Tummy Time Unrestrained, supervised movement opportunities with infants placed in the prone position (on their tummies). Infants:
  • For those not yet mobile, this includes at least 30 minutes of tummy time spread throughout the day while awake.
Definitions beginning with "U"
Terminology Definitions Examples
Unstructured physical activities Activities that occur spontaneously, sporadically, are often unplanned or unscheduled and involve self-directed games, play and other activities without external structures (e.g., coaches, time clocks). Children and Youth:
  • Playing ball with the dog
  • Soccer game with friends
  • Swimming at the beach
  • Family hike
  • Walking, biking or skateboarding to school
  • Building a tree fort
  • Climbing outside
Adults and Older Adults:
  • Running alone or with friends in the park
  • Swimming at the beach
  • Family hike
  • Surfing
  • Gardening
  • Getting groceries
  • Walking the dog
Definitions beginning with "V"
Terminology Definitions Examples
Vigorous-Intensity Physical Activity (VPA) On an absolute scale, vigorous intensity refers to physical activity that is performed at:
  • Typically 7.0 or more times the intensity of rest for children and youth (≥7.0 METs).
  • 6.0 or more times the intensity of rest for adults and older adults (≥6.0 METs).
On a scale relative to an individual’s personal capacity (e.g., Rating of Perceived Exertion), vigorous-intensity physical activity is usually 7 to 9 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Generally, during VPA heart rate increases substantially, body temperature increases quickly, and a person cannot say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.
Children and Youth:
  • Active games involving running and chasing (e.g., tag or flag football)
  • Fast bicycle riding
  • Jumping rope
  • Martial arts (e.g., karate)
  • Running
  • Sports (e.g., ice or field hockey, basketball, swimming, soccer, tennis or gymnastics)
  • Vigorous dancing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Aerobics
Adults and Older Adults:
  • Race walking, fast walking for exercise, jogging or running
  • Swimming laps / fast swimming
  • Tennis (singles)
  • Aerobic dancing
  • Bicycling 16 kilometers per hour (10 mph) or faster
  • Jumping rope
  • Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing)
  • Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack

Industry and Allied Partners